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First Timer in San Antonio

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First Timer in San Antonio

Post  mmschan on 2/14/2013, 11:25 pm

Howdy y'all! So we bought our first house a year ago and are now in the process of finally starting our garden! After doing some extensive research I've settled on Mel's method and have some plans I'd like to run by you guys before I do anything drastic. This first one I'm all for experimenting which is why I'm starting small but I also don't want to be setting myself up for failure. I'm starting with two 4X4 boxes with the trellises on the north side. I'm going to try to give a quick basic lay out and see if there are any flaws. If you guys clear everything I'm going to run it by the people at the nursery and see what they suggest for varieties and whatnot. In advance I want to thank everyone for the help and I PROMISE I will post pics as things go along!
Key: T-Tomatoes, L-Lettuce, J-Jalapeno, B-Beets, O-Onion, P-Pole Bean, Ct-Cherry Tomato, S-Spinach, G-Green Peppers, C-Cuccumbers.


T T T T
L L L L
J B B J
O O O O

P C C C
Ct S S Ct
L L L L
G G G G
Top side faces North.

Mike

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Re: First Timer in San Antonio

Post  Kelejan on 2/15/2013, 1:28 am

glad you\'re here mmschan happy hi
I think you have picked the right method, but of course I am biased myself.
You are doing the right thing as a beginner in starting small so that you learn as you go along. It gets better year by year.
The main thing you need to do is get a compost pile going. That is a really important thing for improving your beds in the long run and you cannot start too soon.
Read as much as you can about it and I am sure that tomorrow you will be receiving help from those who are more advance than I am.
P.S. I have some friends in San Antonio, I last visited them some years ago and I remember it was a nice break from winter up here in British Columbia.

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Re: First Timer in San Antonio

Post  johnsonjlj on 2/15/2013, 5:47 am

Welcome to the forum, Mike! When I look at your plan, the first thing I notice is that you have 10 things that will need a trellis, and only 8 squares next to the trellises. In the box you show on the bottom, you may have problems gaining access to the spinach in the middle of the box. Spinach (at least the ones I have grown!) usually grows low to the ground. Surrounded by cucumbers, pole beans & cherry tomatoes may cause a problem. Instead of 2 4x4 boxes, you may want to consider 1 4x4 box and a 2x8 with the trellis on one side. I'm doing that this year because of all of the plants I want to grow which require trellising (cucumbers, watermelon, cantaloupe, & tomatoes). Same thing goes for the lettuce with bell peppers on the other side. You might also want to consider your temperatures- lettuce is a cool-season plant and will bolt in the heat. I've not been able to grow lettuce and bell peppers (which love the heat) at the same time.

What do you plan on using for your trellis? After a year of dealing broken trellising, I plan on using cattle panels for my trellis this year. Do a search on this site for cattle panels trellis and you'll what I mean. They look like they'll do a much better job and I'll be able to use them year after year.

Have fun with your garden this year!

Kelejan is right, there are some amazing gardeners on this site! I have learned so much by reading their posts and seeing their pictures.

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Re: First Timer in San Antonio

Post  mmschan on 2/15/2013, 9:33 am

Thank you guys so much for the encouraging words! I was planning on 2 trellis's, one along the tomoatoes and one along the beans and cucumbers. I was just going to build the one from the book using the nylon and the electrical poles. Is that what you had trouble with breaking? Next year I plan on doing the long beds specifically for things that need to go vertical and will definately be looking at a more permanent trellis. Because of the heat down here I'm not as concerned with things lasting the whole summer so if it starts to thin out by then I'll be ok with that.

I am working on compost bin at the same time, I'm just trying to find some free pallets at the moment. All in all, considering where I was a few weeks ago (not knowing a thing about gardening) to now, if I could get one thing to grow I'll call it a success!

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Re: First Timer in San Antonio

Post  Lindacol on 2/15/2013, 12:06 pm

@mmschan wrote:Thank you guys so much for the encouraging words! I was planning on 2 trellis's, one along the tomoatoes and one along the beans and cucumbers. I was just going to build the one from the book using the nylon and the electrical poles. Is that what you had trouble with breaking? Next year I plan on doing the long beds specifically for things that need to go vertical and will definately be looking at a more permanent trellis. Because of the heat down here I'm not as concerned with things lasting the whole summer so if it starts to thin out by then I'll be ok with that.

I am working on compost bin at the same time, I'm just trying to find some free pallets at the moment. All in all, considering where I was a few weeks ago (not knowing a thing about gardening) to now, if I could get one thing to grow I'll call it a success!

welcome

The main problem I see is with your cherry toms If they are indeterminate like the ones I have grown they are strong vining type. In that case plant them one to a square and they will need a trellis. If they are determinant(bush) then they do not need a trellis but need more squares(Mel says 1 per 9 square feet).

Another potential problem is the beans & cucs. My first year I planted pole beans next to cucumbers and they were a mess - hard to find anything in there. These were planted in march I think and the picture was taken june 11th and they were over the top of my 52" cattle panel trellis. This was one square of beans and one cucumber plant.



Last edited by Lindacol on 2/15/2013, 12:23 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Re: First Timer in San Antonio

Post  Turan on 2/15/2013, 1:28 pm

glad you\'re here
You can deal with some of what Lindacol is explaining if you have the space to let the cucumbers sprawl into the walk way. Then the beans can use the trellis with less confusion. The cherry tomatoes can get huge and need tall cages and lots of pruning to keep them contained. They also can be trained on to a trellis. Why not use L shaped trellis along 2 sides of one bed? Shade should not be a problem for you, it will help keep lettuce and spinach going longer.

I hope that is helpful.

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Re: First Timer in San Antonio

Post  jillintx on 2/15/2013, 3:27 pm

Hi mmschan and welcome! I'm a little south of Ft Worth so I have similar growing conditions to you, although you will have a slightly earlier schedule for planting. I would suggest that you look online for a planting calendar for your area. This is my third year gardening, and because we have two short growing seasons for most things I really had trouble with my timing the first year. (The good news is peppers love it here in the summer.) Some things that jumped out at me from your list: For us, the end of Feb is the last planting date for onions, spinach and lettuce. Tomato transplants should be in the ground by mid March, although last year was so warm I planted the beginning of March. The others that you listed can be planted mid March through the beginning of April, although both types of peppers will be fine a little later. I'd read somewhere that when the mesquite trees start putting out leaves, it's time to plant corn, peppers, etc (the things that don't like the cool weather.) Check out TAMU's website. I've found a lot of helpful info there. Good luck, and happy gardening!

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Re: First Timer in San Antonio

Post  mmschan on 2/15/2013, 4:09 pm

Thank you all again! Little story...my wife was asking me how these forums are and was suprised at all the help I'm getting. I told her, "everyone is great! and there aren't any Trolls!" She said, "what?!? Thats not even the real internet!"

After all of the great suggestions I've decided to replace the cherry tomatoes with eggplant. I'm still not sure about the Bean/Cuke issue but I'm thinking about maybe switching the middle two cukes with two tomatoes. Do you think that would cut down on the clutter? Or can some of those not go together?

So lets say hypothetically I could get the majority of these plants from the garden store right now as transplants, which ones should I get? I'm thinking lettuce, onions and spinach? If I go by the calendar I should be good starting everything else (except the tomatoes) by seed at the appropriate times correct?

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Re: First Timer in San Antonio

Post  plantoid on 2/15/2013, 4:53 pm

MMS
Check out your local authority to see if they give away or sell dirt cheap any form of garden waste composting bins .
Lots do and for a quick clean start to composting they are fairly good things to have even if it is just to hold green stuff till you build your own bins . For once you get going with your own composts they also make idea storage bins for finished compost to ripen a bit more till it is needed.

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Re: First Timer in San Antonio

Post  johnsonjlj on 2/16/2013, 7:49 am

mmschan, I think you'll still have a problem with trellis space, even if you replace 2 cucumbers with tomatoes- maybe even more so. And yes, the nylon trellis is what I used that broke. I had 4 tomato plants on one, and on the other had 2 cucumber vines and 2 cantaloupe vines and both trellises broke. NOT going that route again!! I can get a cattle panel for $20, cut it in half and support it using electrical conduit (just like I did with the nylon trellis) and should be fine.
You're in zone 8b just like I am (even though we have a Gulf between us!) and we have spinach, collard greens, cabbage, carrots, onions & swiss chard growing. This winter I also had broccoli growing. Being this far south, we can grow all winter, but we have to have a plan in place to protect our plants from freezes.

I'm posting a link to the extension website from Texas A&M which gives a TON of information specific to growing in Texas. Stay with the info from SFG book for making your beds and Mels Mix, but use their information about the plants for your specific area and when to plant.

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/vegetable/

Good luck and have fun!!

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Re: First Timer in San Antonio

Post  elliephant on 2/16/2013, 12:10 pm

Welcome! When getting tomato transplants look for varieties that are tolerant of Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV). This has recently become more and more of a problem in south Texas and the big box stores probably don't take that into account in their varieties, but a good local nursery will. A few of the varieties I've seen are Tycoon, Sacramento, and Tygress. I've suffered so much heartbreak over loss of tomato production over the past couple of years due to this virus.

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San Antonio Vermiculite

Post  laknir on 4/18/2013, 1:36 pm

I am starting a Sq Ft garden in San Antonio. Info on your post is great. Where did you find your vermiculite? Our boxes are built but no mix to fill them. I have seen online prices vary. I was surprised at the cost. What did you do? Thanks

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vermiculite in san antonio

Post  hillcountryhick on 4/18/2013, 11:17 pm

I got my horticultural grade Vermiculite at Rainbow Gardens on Bandera Rd. There is another one on Thousand Oaks drive. It was 11.99 a bag or so.

Texas gardening sites are great. My favorite is

http://plantanswers.com/

I have gotten some cheap!! 1.25 transplants from HEB grocery, including the BHN 444 tomatoes that are the best for our area. Tons of hot peppers types for same price.

Also picked up some cheap 1.75 Celebrity tomato transplants from Home Depot.

A couple of gardening principles to go by...
You should not put 2 different species of tomatoes within 8 feet of each other. same for cucumbers. I think this is why Mel says 1 tomato per 9 squares.

Don't plant tomatoes and potatoes too near each other. They suffer from the same viruses.

Rotate your planting beds yearly. SO, keep records as to what you put where and change it up next year.

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Re: First Timer in San Antonio

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